Cuba: Opposition leader sentenced to house arrest after trial tainted by irregularities

In response to Cuba’s main opposition leader, José Daniel Ferrer García, being convicted today for “injuries” and “privation of liberty” and sentenced to four and a half years of house arrest, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, said:

“Although it’s good news that José Daniel Ferrer García can finally go home, instead of remaining in prison, where he would be at greater risk of COVID-19, his conviction and sentencing is still shameful. He should have never been detained for peacefully expressing his ideas in the first place. The Cuban authorities have made it clear once again that they do not tolerate critical voices and shown their outright disdain for freedom of expression and the right to a fair trial.”

José Daniel Ferrer García was reportedly held incommunicado after what appeared to be an arbitrary detention last October. Amnesty International later received reports that he may have been tortured or otherwise ill-treated.

Although it’s good news that José Daniel Ferrer García can finally go home, instead of remaining in prison, where he would be at greater risk of COVID-19, his conviction and sentencing is still shameful. He should have never been detained for peacefully expressing his ideas in the first place
Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International

The Cuban authorities prevented the press, the European Union and Amnesty International from monitoring his trial on 26 February. On the day of his trial, Cuba’s Ministry of Justice tweeted that José Daniel Ferrer would get a fair trial, but in the same tweet called him “a common criminal”, in violation of his right to the presumption of innocence.

“With detainees at increased risk from the COVID-19 pandemic, we urge the Cuban authorities once again to immediately release all prisoners of conscience, including independent journalist Roberto Quiñones Haces and five members of the Unión Patriótica de Cuba currently imprisoned solely for peacefully expressing their ideas,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas.

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Duncan Tucker: duncan.tucker@amnesty.org